(Nothing But Trouble, #1)
Publication date: January 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
I thought I might finally be ready to move on from that horrible night, but then he decided to come back.
He can’t come back … he’ll ruin me completely.
One horror-filled night changes the course of Samantha’s seemingly normal life. She’s ruined everything. Despite her determination to keep the family ranch up and running, her guilt makes it impossible to completely move on or forget.
Sam takes comfort in her quirky, endearing friends as she tries to balance between the girl she was and the woman she wants to become. Just when she thinks she’s finally making amends with her past, someone she never thought she’d see again returns, and Sam’s life is once again turned upside down. Both her head and her heart want different things, so she’s lost when, once again, she’s forced to make a decision that will inevitably change her life.
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Whatever It Takes is a New Adult romance with a lot of heart and emotion. Samantha "Sam" had her heart broken a few years earlier by the guy she loved, Reilly, when he enlisted and left her behind. Not only that, when he came back he destroyed her next relationship by showing up at her new beau's place and creating a scene. Tossed to the curb by this other guy, Sam's night turns tragic when she calls her dad for help and they have an accident. The opening scene sets up the stage for the rest of this tender tale of heartache, discovering what 'family' means, and being able to have a second chance at love.
The story is narrated by both Sam and Reilly and flashbacks are used to fill in sections so the reader knows exactly what's going on. I admired Sam's work ethic and determination to keep her father's ranch operating. Burdened with guilt over her dad's death and living with a stepmother who doesn't appear to love her, along with her past failures in the boyfriend department, is a lot for one young woman to walk around with every day. Her close friends, Mac and Nick, are great, but Sam doesn't necessarily let them in to help where it's needed most. Things turn very complicated when Reilly returns to town to prepare his recently deceased father's estate for sale. The Army man plans to take the money and run, but when he sees how decrepit the house is, he knows he has his work cut out for him.
Since Reilly's property abuts Sam's, and she likes to ride her horse around, she does get to see him briefly before going on her way. It's obvious with their past and strong emotional connection these two need to work out their problems before they can continue on with their lives. Having many of the same friends helps by tossing them together frequently for trips to the bar for a night out and camping. Reilly is a really nice guy and very patient when dealing with Sam. Having his own issues from his years of being a soldier and living with an alcoholic father, he should be as broken as Sam but seems to have himself together. He just needs to break through the layers Sam has erected to protect herself from life and the world.
I didn't connect with the characters as quickly as I wanted to and thought there was a bit more exposition about the past to understand and feel what the characters were doing in the present for the beginning part of the novel. When these components did click for me farther in, I sat back and enjoyed the read. I liked Whatever It Takes, especially the country setting and Sam's love for horses and nature. I could easily see the barn and the whip of Sam's favorite horse's tail and feel the summer heat beating down upon them. Sam was certainly tight lipped and kept a lot inside. Seeing her have fun during the camping trip gave me insight into her but I wished she didn't have to drink so much to have fun. I'm glad there was a HEA and Sam's romance with Reilly did have some sweet spots. The secondary characters make the story lively and kept the pace moving.
Rating: 3.5 liked it
Cover comment: This cover doesn't work for me. Sam was always so serious and this cover seems better suited for a younger contemporary romance featuring a 'frilly' type of girl, not one with a serious work ethic and such heavy emotional baggage.
Book soucre: Promotional copy received in exchange for my honest review
About the authorLindsey Pogue has always been a little creative. As a child she established a bug hospital on her elementary school soccer field, wrote her first YA manuscript in high school, and as an adult, expresses herself through writing.
Her novels are inspired by her observations of the world around her—whether she’s traveling, people watching, or hiking. When not plotting her next storyline or dreaming up new, brooding characters, Lindsey’s wrapped in blankets watching her favorite action flicks or going on road trips with her own leading man.
There is a tour-wide giveaway of:
2x signed copies of Whatever It Takes (US only)
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